Our objective is reached. This buget will allow us to leave realizing this documentary. We nevertheless need more money to assure the post-production and the development. Do not hesitate to donate or to spread the project. More there will be money, better will be our documentary. Thank you !
Blind Runners : Description
Blind Runners will be a web documentary. We intend to follow during the ten days of our stay the protagonists of a project called "Accelerate Ethiopia". This project, introduced by an NGO called The HIMALAYAN CATARACT PROJECT, aims to bring professional care to the blind and partially-sighted women and men and to perform one thousand operations that should make it possible for them to improve or recover their sight.
Funds needed will be raised thanks to the running of a half marathon organized on the high plateaux of Gheralta. Stars such as Gebre Gebremariam, winner of the NY marathon, Verknesh Kidane, the world Cross Country champion, and Scott Jurek, the Ultramarathon champion, will compete in the race. The legend of long distance running, Haile Gebreselassie will also be there.
These champions, all of them stars in their respective countries, will measure their strength against hundreds of high-level Ethiopian runners. Together, they will make their way through the stony landscapes of terraced fields and old churches, competing to win this mythical race drawn in the heart of a region considered to be the cradle of humanity.
An avoidable plague
Ethiopia, a country of 90 million inhabitants, has 1,2 million blind people, 2,8 million people affected by impaired eyesight, and no less than 9 million children between the ages of 1 to 9 years old are affected by trachoma, an infectious disease causing blindness. The main causes of blindness in Ethiopia are known to be cataracts (49,9 %), trachoma-related corneal opaqueness (11,5 %), refraction disorders (7,8 %), other diseases of the cornea (7,8 %), and glaucoma (5,2 %).
According to doctors, 80 % of blindness in Ethiopia is avoidable. Lack of hygiene, poor nutrition and the absence of properly structured health care as also of ophthalmologists (one per one million inhabitants) explain the endemic dimension of this evil. Besides the physical and human suffering which it engenders, the handicap excludes or prevents sight-impaired people from working and thus accounts for the socioeconomic devastation experienced by numerous communities.
The running, a vector of integration
Just like the kids of Rio de Janeiro's favelas kick soccer balls while dreaming to be Pelé, the children from the suburbs of Addis Ababa run to look like Gebreselassie. Ceaselessly, on the immense Meskel Square, thousands of young people train.The best will succeed in joining the elite training centers and may in due time represent the prestigious nation of runners in world competitions. But more than a social elevator, running is a tradition - the only means of locomotion for numbers of villagers for whom road transportation does not exist. They take to the tracks from their youngest age. By running, because walking would take too much time. At more than 2 000 meters above sea level, their unique capacity for running will increase and develop naturally as a gift brought about by necessity.
To collect the necessary capital for fighting a national plague thanks to the national sport: what could be a more real and potent symbol?
On February 23rd, we will embark on the "caravan". Departing from of Addis Ababa, the capital, in the direction of the mountains of Gheralata, the 900 km trip will be made in several stages.
The first stage will take us to Dessie, then on to Woldiya, where, during a period of three days, doctors of the Himalayan Cataract Project will perform their eye operations on the blind and partially-sighted people. The choice of this place is not gratuitous: it is one of the locations where the highest incidence of bilateral blindness (both eyes being affected) has been noted.
The journey will continue, passing by Mekele, to reach the mountains of Gheralta. It is there that the half marathon will take place. In the course of this trip, we will interview Gebre Gebremariam at length on the reasons for his commitment, his perception of the problem of blindness and the hope that he has that his sport can contribute to resolving this endemic affliction. Job Heintz, the person responsible for the Himalayan Cataract Project, will explain its activities to us. Together, we shall reflect on the genesis of the project, its results, and the importance of such initiatives. A trainer of a Running Center will also intervene in our documentary for the purpose of explaining the importance of running in the country generally and for this project in particular. The blind runner will be the heart of our web documentary. He will talk to us about the sensations he experiences by running. His guide / trainer will also intervene.